The story is going around, and even Drudge is carrying it.

A Michigan state Marine Reserve Unit who has practiced “urban warfare” training in downtown Toledo with little or no problems has now been banned by the mayor, who claimed “people were frightened” by seeing Marines walking around in downtown Toledo.

The problem is that the Marines had cleared the training with the local police, who had sent out press notices and memos, but the mayor didn’t read the memo and didn’t find out about it until minutes before the Marines were due to arrive. As a result, the Marines have wasted a weekend’s training, which will have to be rescheduled, the taxpayers will have to pay the estimated ten thousand dollars for the training episode, and of course, the city of Toledo will now have a black mark on it’s name, right up there with other politically correct cities that have a reputation of hating the military.

What does it say about a town where the mayor shoves his weight around like this?

The excuse about “frightening” people would be valid—if it were true. But who complained, and why did the mayor keep the complaints quiet?  If previous training had led to public complaints, the usual way to handle such complaints is to bring it up at the city council meeting at the time of the complaints. Unless there is a record of such a meeting, then one has to assume the mayor has acted on his own. Indeed, the only one who knew about the mayor’s objection was a local reporter, who remembers the mayor telling him in the past that he “objected to ‘playing war in Toledo'” it appears that the only one who was frightened was the mayor himself. But of course not frightened enough to bother to inform the police about it.
Indeed, Kim at Whizbang, notes that

My husband saw them on a couple of occasions and noted that no one walking around downtown was scared or upset. They were actually quite interested and thought the whole thing was cool.

This is political correctness gone mad. You might frighten my little brain, and the sight of you upsets me, so go away now or I’ll sue for my right never to be afraid.

Commenter Kathy at Professor Bainbridge‘s blog explains it this way:

Why? Why do Marines have a “right” to take over downtown Toledo for war games while Toledans don’t have the right to say no? Are the rights of Marines privileged above the rights of everyone else in society?

So I guess my old National Guard unit wasn’t allowed to do disaster training either, never mind that when our town suffered a flood, they were out there getting people out of houses and delivering food and water and medical supplies.

But exactly how far does this go?

I trained in an inner city hospital where a well known detective TV show was often shot, and we’d see the crew (including cops, guns, and gore) popping up in the halls and in the newly renovated part of the hospital. And many cities go out of their way to entice film crews to film on their streets. There is a reason for this: authenticity.

Yes, you can build fake building and stuff them with props, but it’s not quite the same thing, either in movies or in real life training. Indeed, one Marine says that a previous training exercize in Toledo probably saved his life in Fallujah.

So let’s not hear that the Mayor is now backpeddling, and telling the Marines (after they already were on the road back to Michigan) that there is another building they can use. Umm…you have to set up the scenerio, plant the fake bombs, arrange where the fake enemy is going to hide, where is the rest/time out area, where will the medics set up shop, where will they eat,  etc. It’s called logistics. I couldn’t plan my granddaughter’s birthday party that quickly, let alone try to set up a war game for a bus full of Marines that fast.


Someone to rewrite the lyrics to this splendid ballad about Toledo.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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